Markets opened lower on Friday morning following a choppy week as traders choose to head into the weekend with caution ahead of a barrage of economic data from the Eurozone and US later on.
Eurozone economic confidence is expected to record a reading of 96 in September from 95.2 last month, according to analysts. Meanwhile the Eurozone industrial confidence index is forecast to climb to -7 this month from -7.9 the prior month while the services confidence index is seen rising to -4.6 from -5.3.
Germany's consumer price index will also be in focus and is expected to come in at 1.5% in September on the year, in line with the previous month.
Over in the States, markets will be focusing on US personal consumption, income and spending figures and the University of Michigan consumer confidence report, not to mention speeches from a number of policymakers.
Weighing on stocks this morning were comments from Mark Carney, the Bank of England Governor, who reportedly said that he sees no reason to continue bond-buying following signs that the UK economy is on the up. According to the Yorkshire Post, he said: "My personal view is, given the recovery has strengthened and broadened, I don't see a case for quantitative easing and I have not supported it."
Nevertheless, he said that if the recovery stalls the bank would consider the option of further quantitative easing.
In other news, Chancellor George Osborne has called on the Bank of England to play a bigger part in supporting the government's Help to Buy scheme to ensure it does not bring about a property boom. This comes alongside the news that the North-South housing price gap has, for the first time, widened to more than £100,000, according to Nationwide.
'Taper', US budget still in focus
Trade has been volatile since last week's decision by the Federal Reserve to hold off from tapering quantitative easing and await a stronger recovery. Conflicting comments by Fed officials since then haven't helped and have worked to cloud the outlook for monetary policy with investors uncertain over when the move will eventually happen.
Fed Bank of Richmond President Jeffrey Lacker spoke on Thursday, saying that he supported a scaling back of stimulus this month but said the Fed would find ot hard to rein in policy without losing face given that last week's shock announcement hurt the central bank's credibility.
"Fisk assets like equities and commodities have held onto the year's gains, but are now plagued by valuations that could make them unattractive in a new era of tapering, whenever that actually happens," said Financial Trader David White from Spreadex.
"Investors are paying more now from expected earnings than they have in any of the recent past, and whether or not that is justified will be fleshed out by no better event than an ending to cheap money," he said.
Budget negotiations in Washington continue to limit upside on markets with investors nervous ahead of the October 1st deadline, hope that politicians can agree on a extension to the current debt-ceiling limit of $16.7tn to avoid an government shutdown when the new fiscal year begins.
FTSE 100: Randgold lower after BofA cuts gold forecasts
Randgold Resources was a heavy faller this morning after Bank of America Merrill Lynch cut its gold-price forecast by 17% to $1,294 an ounce for 2014. Nevertheless, the bank said Randgold remains amount its preferred 'buys' in the sector due to low costs, a rising grade profile and strong balance sheet.
Other miners including Antofagasta, Anglo American, Vedanta Resources, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto were also providing a drag on markets this morning.
Airlines easyJet and IAG headed higher as oil price
receded after the UN Security Council agreed on a resolution requiring Syria to surrender its chemical weapons, dampening the risk of more conflict in the Middle East.
Engineering group IMI also rose after hiring former Weir boss Mark Selway as its new Chief Executive. He will take the reins from company veteran Martin Lamb who will step down at the end of this year after nearly 13 years at the helm.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Babcock International Group (BAB) 1,213.00p +1.68%
Travis Perkins (TPK) 1,676.00p +1.58%
Bunzl (BNZL) 1,360.00p +1.19%
GKN (GKN) 351.60p +0.69%
IMI (IMI) 1,463.00p +0.69%
Glencore Xstrata (GLEN) 346.80p +0.59%
BT Group (BT.A) 345.00p +0.55%
Centrica (CNA) 368.90p +0.55%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 340.90p +0.53%
Capita (CPI) 1,006.00p +0.50%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Persimmon (PSN) 1,082.00p -2.43%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 834.00p -2.28%
SABMiller (SAB) 3,177.50p -1.73%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 4,469.00p -1.67%
Vedanta Resources (VED) 1,085.00p -1.63%
Mondi (MNDI) 1,049.00p -1.59%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 3,093.50p -1.50%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,546.50p -1.47%
BHP Billiton (BLT) 1,860.50p -1.19%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,578.00p -1.16%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Regus (RGU) 187.70p +3.70%
Premier Farnell (PFL) 218.40p +3.56%
Telecity Group (TCY) 862.00p +2.56%
Michael Page International (MPI) 495.80p +2.27%
BH Global Ltd. USD Shares (BHGU) 11.83 +1.98%
Savills (SVS) 628.00p +1.87%
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 148.00p +1.86%
Electrocomponents (ECM) 280.10p +1.60%
CSR (CSR) 519.50p +1.46%
Dignity (DTY) 1,421.00p +1.43%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Countrywide (CWD) 532.50p -2.20%
Evraz (EVR) 130.60p -2.10%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 188.10p -1.98%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 46.50p -1.67%
Ladbrokes (LAD) 171.10p -1.55%
Polymetal International (POLY) 679.00p -1.52%
Amlin (AML) 409.00p -1.49%
Investec (INVP) 398.40p -1.48%
Computacenter (CCC) 506.00p -1.46%
Lonmin (LMI) 325.50p -1.45%